Thursday, 16 August 2007

Number Ones: Part 1 - The Sixties

As I'm forty-one years old in a few days (you can see my Amazon Wishlist if you want to buy me a pressie!) I thought I'd take a look back at the songs which were number one in the UK chart each year on my birthday.

Today I start with the 1960's.

1966: The Beatles - "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby"
August 18 for 4 weeks

They ruled the charts for the whole decade, but they were only ever number one on my birthday once. Eleanor Rigby is a marvellous song. Short and redolent of lost lives with those mournful, stabbing cellos throughout. Yellow Submarine is a silly, sing-a-long for kids. Only The Beatles could have a hit with a kids song and remain cool and relevant, and only they could get away with such a sublime combination of styles on a double A-side. It wouldn't happen today.

1967: Scott McKenzie - "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)"
August 9 for 4 weeks

Here's a hit which sums up the state of the world at the time. If you watch a documentary about the 1967 'Summer of Love' you can almost guarantee that this song will be featured in the soundtrack.

1968: Crazy World of Arthur Brown - "Fire"
August 14 for 1 week

Now, Arthur really was a bit crazy! Set himself alight several times performing this number. Not sure what he's up to now, though I know he did sing one of the tracks on the Alan Parson's Project debut, "Tales of Mystery and Imagination".

1969: Rolling Stones - "Honky Tonk Women"
July 23 for 5 weeks

This song has one of the great drumbeat intros. A lazy, laid-back, loping figure which totally gives away Charlie Watt's jazz roots. And it's got a cow-bell in it, yet it's still good to listen to. Mick Taylor changed the arrangement from country to blues and Keith Richards "borrowed" an open-G tuning from Ry Cooder to come up with the distinctive riff. A top song, though many involved with the Stones don't like it.


jomoore said...

Nice post!

Spookily, The Beatles were also Number One on the day I was born (with The Ballad of John and Yoko) and on the day Mum and Dad were married (with She Loves You).

PT said...

Ta. Lots more to come too (you can tell how busy I've been at work today!)

Chris said...

We were going to call you Ringo George John Paul but decided on Peter (after Pete Best) Charles (after Charles Aznavour) instead.

Twist and Shout!!!!!